[House Document 110-82]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

110th Congress, 2d Session - - - - - - - - - - - - House Document 110-82

                       STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE







  January 29, 2008.--Message and accompanying papers referred to the 
 Committee on the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to 
                               be printed

To the Congress of the United States:
    Madam Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, 
distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
    Seven years have passed since I first stood before you at 
this rostrum. In that time, our country has been tested in ways 
none of us could have imagined. We have faced hard decisions 
about peace and war, rising competition in the world economy, 
and the health and welfare of our citizens. These issues call 
for vigorous debate, and I think it's fair to say we've 
answered that call. Yet history will record that amid our 
differences, we acted with purpose. And together, we showed the 
world the power and resilience of American self-government.
    All of us were sent to Washington to carry out the people's 
business. That is the purpose of this body. It is the meaning 
of our oath. And it remains our charge to keep.
    The actions of the 110th Congress will affect the security 
and prosperity of our Nation long after this session has ended. 
In this election year, let us show our fellow Americans that we 
recognize our responsibilities and are determined to meet them. 
And let us show them that Republicans and Democrats can compete 
for votes and cooperate for results at the same time.
    From expanding opportunity to protecting our country, we 
have made good progress. Yet we have unfinished business before 
us, and the American people expect us to get it done:
    In the work ahead, we must be guided by the philosophy that 
made our Nation great. As Americans, we believe in the power of 
individuals to determine their destiny and shape the course of 
history. We believe that the most reliable guide for our 
country is the collective wisdom of ordinary citizens. So in 
all we do, we must trust in the ability of free people to make 
wise decisions, and empower them to improve their lives and 
their futures.
    To build a prosperous future, we must trust people with 
their own money and empower them to grow our economy. As we 
meet tonight, our economy is undergoing a period of 
uncertainty. America has added jobs for a record 52 straight 
months, but jobs are now growing at a slower pace. Wages are 
up, but so are prices for food and gas. Exports are rising, but 
the housing market has declined. And at kitchen tables across 
our country, there is concern about our economic future.
    In the long run, Americans can be confident about our 
economic growth. But in the short run, we can all see that 
growth is slowing. So last week, my Administration reached 
agreement with Speaker Pelosi and Republican Leader Boehner on 
a robust growth package that includes tax relief for 
individuals and families and incentives for business 
investment. The temptation will be to load up the bill. That 
would delay it or derail it, and neither option is acceptable. 
This is a good agreement that will keep our economy growing and 
our people working. And this Congress must pass it as soon as 
    We have other work to do on taxes. Unless the Congress 
acts, most of the tax relief we have delivered over the past 7 
years will be taken away. Some in Washington argue that letting 
tax relief expire is not a tax increase. Try explaining that to 
116 million American taxpayers who would see their taxes rise 
by an average of $1,800. Others have said they would personally 
be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm, and I 
am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money 
    Most Americans think their taxes are high enough. With all 
the other pressures on their finances, American families should 
not have to worry about the Federal Government taking a bigger 
bite out of their paychecks. There is only one way to eliminate 
this uncertainty: make the tax relief permanent. And Members of 
Congress should know: If any bill raising taxes reaches my 
desk, I will veto it.
    Just as we trust Americans with their own money, we need to 
earn their trust by spending their tax dollars wisely. Next 
week, I will send you a budget that terminates or substantially 
reduces 151 wasteful or bloated programs totaling more than $18 
billion. And this budget will keep America on track for a 
surplus in 2012. American families have to balance their 
budgets, and so should their Government.
    The people's trust in their Government is undermined by 
congressional earmarks--special interest projects that are 
often snuck in at the last minute, without discussion or 
debate. Last year, I asked you to voluntarily cut the number 
and cost of earmarks in half. I also asked you to stop slipping 
earmarks into committee reports that never even come to a vote. 
Unfortunately, neither goal was met. So this time, if you send 
me an appropriations bill that does not cut the number and cost 
of earmarks in half, I will send it back to you with my veto. 
And tomorrow, I will issue an Executive Order that directs 
Federal agencies to ignore any future earmark that is not voted 
on by the Congress. If these items are truly worth funding, the 
Congress should debate them in the open and hold a public vote.
    Our shared responsibilities extend beyond matters of taxes 
and spending.
    On housing, we must trust Americans with the responsibility 
of homeownership and empower them to weather turbulent times in 
the housing market. My Administration brought together the HOPE 
NOW alliance, which is helping many struggling homeowners avoid 
foreclosure. The Congress can help even more. Tonight I askyou 
to pass legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, modernize the 
Federal Housing Administration, and allow State housing agencies to 
issue tax-free bonds to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. 
These are difficult times for many American families, and by taking 
these steps, we can help more of them keep their homes.
    To build a future of quality health care, we must trust 
patients and doctors to make medical decisions and empower them 
with better information and better options. We share a common 
goal: making health care more affordable and accessible for all 
Americans. The best way to achieve that goal is by expanding 
consumer choice, not government control. So I have proposed 
ending the bias in the tax code against those who do not get 
their health insurance through their employer. This one reform 
would put private coverage within reach for millions, and I 
call on the Congress to pass it this year. The Congress must 
also expand health savings accounts, create Association Health 
Plans for small businesses, promote health information 
technology, and confront the epidemic of junk medical lawsuits. 
With all these steps, we will help ensure that decisions about 
your medical care are made in the privacy of your doctor's 
office--not in the halls of Congress.
    On education, we must trust students to learn if given the 
chance and empower parents to demand results from our schools. 
In neighborhoods across our country, there are boys and girls 
with dreams--and a decent education is their only hope of 
achieving them. Six years ago, we came together to pass the No 
Child Left Behind Act, and today no one can deny its results. 
Last year, fourth and eighth graders achieved the highest math 
scores on record. Reading scores are on the rise. And African-
American and Hispanic students posted all-time highs. Now we 
must work together to increase accountability, add flexibility 
for States and districts, reduce the number of high school 
dropouts, and provide extra help for struggling schools. 
Members of Congress: The No Child Left Behind Act is a 
bipartisan achievement. It is succeeding. And we owe it to 
America's children, their parents, and their teachers to 
strengthen this good law.
    We must also do more to help children when their schools do 
not measure up. Thanks to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships you 
approved, more than 2,600 of the poorest children in our 
Nation's capital have found new hope at a faith-based or other 
non-public school. Sadly, these schools are disappearing at an 
alarming rate in many of America's inner cities. So I will 
convene a White House summit aimed at strengthening these 
lifelines of learning. And to open the doors of these schools 
to more children, I ask you to support a new $300 million 
program called Pell Grants for Kids. We have seen how Pell 
Grants help low-income college students realize their full 
potential. Together, we have expanded the size and reach of 
these grants. Now let's apply that same spirit to help liberate 
poor children trapped in failing public schools.
    On trade, we must trust American workers to compete with 
anyone in the world and empower them by opening up new markets 
overseas. Today, our economic growth increasingly depends on 
our ability to sell American goods, crops, and services all 
over the world. So we are working to break down barriers to 
trade and investment wherever we can. We are working for a 
successful Doha round of trade talks, and we must complete a 
good agreement this year. At the same time, we are pursuing 
opportunities to open up new markets by passing free trade 
    I thank the Congress for approving a good agreement with 
Peru. Now I ask you to approve agreements with Colombia, 
Panama,and South Korea. Many products from these nations now 
enter America duty-free, yet many of our products face steep tariffs in 
their markets. These agreements will level the playing field. They will 
give us better access to nearly 100 million customers. And they will 
support good jobs for the finest workers in the world: those whose 
products say ``Made in the USA.''
    These agreements also promote America's strategic 
interests. The first agreement that will come before you is 
with Colombia, a friend of America that is confronting violence 
and terror and fighting drug traffickers. If we fail to pass 
this agreement, we will embolden the purveyors of false 
populism in our hemisphere. So we must come together, pass this 
agreement, and show our neighbors in the region that democracy 
leads to a better life.
    Trade brings better jobs, better choices, and better 
prices. Yet for some Americans, trade can mean losing a job, 
and the Federal Government has a responsibility to help. I ask 
the Congress to reauthorize and reform trade adjustment 
assistance, so we can help these displaced workers learn new 
skills and find new jobs.
    To build a future of energy security, we must trust in the 
creative genius of American researchers and entrepreneurs and 
empower them to pioneer a new generation of clean energy 
technology. Our security, our prosperity, and our environment 
all require reducing our dependence on oil. Last year, I asked 
you to pass legislation to reduce oil consumption over the next 
decade, and you responded. Together we should take the next 
steps: Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal 
power while capturing carbon emissions. Let us increase the use 
of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power. Let us 
continue investing in advanced battery technology and renewable 
fuels to power the cars and trucks of the future. Let us create 
a new international clean technology fund, which will help 
developing nations like India and China make greater use of 
clean energy sources. And let us complete an international 
agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually 
reverse the growth of greenhouse gases. This agreement will be 
effective only if it includes commitments by every major 
economy and gives none a free ride. The United States is 
committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting 
global climate change. And the best way to meet these goals is 
for America to continue leading the way toward the development 
of cleaner and more efficient technology.
    To keep America competitive into the future, we must trust 
in the skill of our scientists and engineers and empower them 
to pursue the breakthroughs of tomorrow. Last year, the 
Congress passed legislation supporting the American 
Competitiveness Initiative, but never followed through with the 
funding. This funding is essential to keeping our scientific 
edge. So I ask the Congress to double Federal support for 
critical basic research in the physical sciences and ensure 
America remains the most dynamic nation on Earth.
    On matters of science and life, we must trust in the 
innovative spirit of medical researchers and empower them to 
discover new treatments while respecting moral boundaries. In 
November, we witnessed a landmark achievement when scientists 
discovered a way to reprogram adult skin cells to act like 
embryonic stem cells. This breakthrough has the potential to 
move us beyond the divisive debates of the past by extending 
the frontiers of medicine without the destruction of human 
life. So we are expanding funding for this type of ethical 
medical research. And as we explore promising avenues of 
research, we must also ensure that all life is treated with the 
dignity itdeserves. So I call on the Congress to pass 
legislation that bans unethical practices such as the buying, selling, 
patenting, or cloning of human life.
    On matters of justice, we must trust in the wisdom of our 
Founders and empower judges who understand that the 
Constitution means what it says. I have submitted judicial 
nominees who will rule by the letter of the law, not the whim 
of the gavel. Many of these nominees are being unfairly 
delayed. They are worthy of confirmation, and the Senate should 
give each of them a prompt up-or-down vote.
    In communities across our land, we must trust in the good 
heart of the American people and empower them to serve their 
neighbors in need. Over the past 7 years, more of our fellow 
citizens have discovered that the pursuit of happiness leads to 
the path of service. Americans have volunteered in record 
numbers. Charitable donations are higher than ever. Faith-based 
groups are bringing hope to pockets of despair, with newfound 
support from the Federal Government. And to help guarantee 
equal treatment for faith-based organizations when they compete 
for Federal funds, I ask you to permanently extend Charitable 
    Tonight the armies of compassion continue the march to a 
new day in the Gulf Coast. America honors the strength and 
resilience of the people of this region. We reaffirm our pledge 
to help them build stronger and better than before. And tonight 
I am pleased to announce that in April we will host this year's 
North American Summit of Canada, Mexico, and the United States 
in the great city of New Orleans.
    There are two other pressing challenges that I have raised 
repeatedly before this body, and that this body has failed to 
address: entitlement spending and immigration.
    Every Member in this chamber knows that spending on 
entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and 
Medicaid is growing faster than we can afford. And we all know 
the painful choices ahead if America stays on this path: 
massive tax increases, sudden and drastic cuts in benefits, or 
crippling deficits. I have laid out proposals to reform these 
programs. Now I ask Members of Congress to offer your proposals 
and come up with a bipartisan solution to save these vital 
programs for our children and grandchildren.
    The other pressing challenge is immigration. America needs 
to secure our borders--and with your help, my Administration is 
taking steps to do so. We are increasing worksite enforcement, 
we are deploying fences and advanced technologies to stop 
illegal crossings, we have effectively ended the policy of 
``catch and release'' at the border, and by the end of this 
year, we will have doubled the number of border patrol agents. 
Yet we also need to acknowledge that we will never fully secure 
our border until we create a lawful way for foreign workers to 
come here and support our economy. This will take pressure off 
the border and allow law enforcement to concentrate on those 
who mean us harm. We must also find a sensible and humane way 
to deal with people here illegally. Illegal immigration is 
complicated, but it can be resolved. And it must be resolved in 
a way that upholds both our laws and our highest ideals.
    This is the business of our Nation here at home. Yet 
building a prosperous future for our citizens also depends on 
confronting enemies abroad and advancing liberty in troubled 
regions of the world.
    Our foreign policy is based on a clear premise: We trust 
that people, when given the chance, will choose a future of 
freedom and peace. In the last 7 years, we have 
witnessedstirring moments in the history of liberty. We have seen 
citizens in Georgia and Ukraine stand up for their right to free and 
fair elections. We have seen people in Lebanon take to the streets to 
demand their independence. We have seen Afghans emerge from the tyranny 
of the Taliban to choose a new president and a new parliament. We have 
seen jubilant Iraqis holding up ink-stained fingers and celebrating 
their freedom. And these images of liberty have inspired us.
     In the past 7 years, we have also seen images that have 
sobered us. We have watched throngs of mourners in Lebanon and 
Pakistan carrying the caskets of beloved leaders taken by the 
assassin's hand. We have seen wedding guests in blood-soaked 
finery staggering from a hotel in Jordan, Afghans and Iraqis 
blown up in mosques and markets, and trains in London and 
Madrid ripped apart by bombs. And on a clear September day, we 
saw thousands of our fellow citizens taken from us in an 
instant. These horrific images serve as a grim reminder: The 
advance of liberty is opposed by terrorists and extremists--
evil men who despise freedom, despise America, and aim to 
subject millions to their violent rule.
     Since September 11, we have taken the fight to these 
terrorists and extremists. We will stay on the offense, we will 
keep up the pressure, and we will deliver justice to the 
enemies of America.
     We are engaged in the defining ideological struggle of the 
21st century. The terrorists oppose every principle of humanity 
and decency that we hold dear. Yet in this war on terror, there 
is one thing we and our enemies agree on: In the long run, men 
and women who are free to determine their own destinies will 
reject terror and refuse to live in tyranny. That is why the 
terrorists are fighting to deny this choice to people in 
Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Palestinian 
Territories. And that is why, for the security of America and 
the peace of the world, we are spreading the hope of freedom.
     In Afghanistan, America, our 25 NATO allies, and 15 
partner nations are helping the Afghan people defend their 
freedom and rebuild their country. Thanks to the courage of 
these military and civilian personnel, a nation that was once a 
safe haven for al Qaida is now a young democracy where boys and 
girls are going to school, new roads and hospitals are being 
built, and people are looking to the future with new hope. 
These successes must continue, so we are adding 3,200 Marines 
to our forces in Afghanistan, where they will fight the 
terrorists and train the Afghan Army and police. Defeating the 
Taliban and al Qaida is critical to our security, and I thank 
the Congress for supporting America's vital mission in 
     In Iraq, the terrorists and extremists are fighting to 
deny a proud people their liberty and to establish safe havens 
for attacks across the world. One year ago, our enemies were 
succeeding in their efforts to plunge Iraq into chaos. So we 
reviewed our strategy and changed course. We launched a surge 
of American forces into Iraq. And we gave our troops a new 
mission: Work with Iraqi forces to protect the Iraqi people, 
pursue the enemy in its strongholds, and deny the terrorists 
sanctuary anywhere in the country.
     The Iraqi people quickly realized that something dramatic 
had happened. Those who had worried that America was preparing 
to abandon them instead saw tens of thousands of American 
forces flowing into their country. They saw our forces moving 
into neighborhoods, clearing out the terrorists, and staying 
behind to ensure the enemy did not return. And they saw our 
troops, along with Provincial Reconstruction Teams that include 
ForeignService Officers and other skilled public servants, 
coming in to ensure that improved security was followed by improvements 
in daily life. Our military and civilians in Iraq are performing with 
courage and distinction, and they have the gratitude of our whole 
    The Iraqis launched a surge of their own. In the fall of 
2006, Sunni tribal leaders grew tired of al Qaida's brutality 
and started a popular uprising called ``The Anbar Awakening.'' 
Over the past year, similar movements have spread across the 
country. And today, this grassroots surge includes more than 
80,000 Iraqi citizens who are fighting the terrorists. The 
government in Baghdad has stepped forward as well--adding more 
than 100,000 new Iraqi soldiers and police during the past 
    While the enemy is still dangerous and more work remains, 
the American and Iraqi surges have achieved results few of us 
could have imagined just 1 year ago:
    When we met last year, many said containing the violence 
was impossible. A year later, high profile terrorist attacks 
are down, civilian deaths are down, and sectarian killings are 
    When we met last year, militia extremists--some armed and 
trained by Iran--were wreaking havoc in large areas of Iraq. A 
year later, Coalition and Iraqi forces have killed or captured 
hundreds of militia fighters. And Iraqis of all backgrounds 
increasingly realize that defeating these militia fighters is 
critical to the future of their country.
    When we met last year, al Qaida had sanctuaries in many 
areas of Iraq, and their leaders had just offered American 
forces safe passage out of the country. Today, it is al Qaida 
that is searching for safe passage. They have been driven from 
many of the strongholds they once held, and over the past year, 
we have captured or killed thousands of extremists in Iraq, 
including hundreds of key al Qaida leaders and operatives. Last 
month, Osama bin Laden released a tape in which he railed 
against Iraqi tribal leaders who have turned on al Qaida and 
admitted that Coalition forces are growing stronger in Iraq. 
Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but 
among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al Qaida is on the run 
in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.
    When we met last year, our troop levels in Iraq were on the 
rise. Today, because of the progress just described, we are 
implementing a policy of ``return on success,'' and the surge 
forces we sent to Iraq are beginning to come home.
    This progress is a credit to the valor of our troops and 
the brilliance of their commanders. This evening, I want to 
speak directly to our men and women on the frontlines. 
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen: In the 
past year, you have done everything we have asked of you, and 
more. Our Nation is grateful for your courage. We are proud of 
your accomplishments. And tonight in this hallowed chamber, 
with the American people as our witness, we make you a solemn 
pledge: In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to 
protect our Nation. And I ask the Congress to meet its 
responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding 
our troops.
    Our enemies in Iraq have been hit hard. They are not yet 
defeated, and we can still expect tough fighting ahead. Our 
objective in the coming year is to sustain and build on the 
gains we made in 2007, while transitioning to the next phase of 
our strategy. American troops are shifting from leading 
operations, to partnering with Iraqi forces, and, eventually, 
to a protective overwatch mission. As part of this transition, 
one Army brigade combat team and one Marine Expeditionary Unit 
have already come home and will not be replaced. In the coming 
months, fouradditional brigades and two Marine battalions will 
follow suit. Taken together, this means more than 20,000 of our troops 
are coming home.
    Any further drawdown of U.S. troops will be based on 
conditions in Iraq and the recommendations of our commanders. 
General Petraeus has warned that too fast a drawdown could 
result in the ``disintegration of the Iraqi Security Forces, al 
Qaida-Iraq regaining lost ground, [and] a marked increase in 
violence.'' Members of Congress: Having come so far and 
achieved so much, we must not allow this to happen.
    In the coming year, we will work with Iraqi leaders as they 
build on the progress they are making toward political 
reconciliation. At the local level, Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds are 
beginning to come together to reclaim their communities and 
rebuild their lives. Progress in the provinces must be matched 
by progress in Baghdad. And we are seeing some encouraging 
signs. The national government is sharing oil revenues with the 
provinces. The parliament recently passed both a pension law 
and de-Ba'athification reform. Now they are debating a 
provincial powers law. The Iraqis still have a distance to 
travel. But after decades of dictatorship and the pain of 
sectarian violence, reconciliation is taking place--and the 
Iraqi people are taking control of their future.
    The mission in Iraq has been difficult and trying for our 
Nation. But it is in the vital interest of the United States 
that we succeed. A free Iraq will deny al Qaida a safe haven. A 
free Iraq will show millions across the Middle East that a 
future of liberty is possible. And a free Iraq will be a friend 
of America, a partner in fighting terror, and a source of 
stability in a dangerous part of the world.
    By contrast, a failed Iraq would embolden extremists, 
strengthen Iran, and give terrorists a base from which to 
launch new attacks on our friends, our allies, and our 
homeland. The enemy has made its intentions clear. At a time 
when the momentum seemed to favor them, al Qaida's top 
commander in Iraq declared that they will not rest until they 
have attacked us here in Washington. My fellow Americans: We 
will not rest either. We will not rest until this enemy has 
been defeated. We must do the difficult work today, so that 
years from now people will look back and say that this 
generation rose to the moment, prevailed in a tough fight, and 
left behind a more hopeful region and a safer America.
    We are also standing against the forces of extremism in the 
Holy Land, where we have new cause for hope. Palestinians have 
elected a president who recognizes that confronting terror is 
essential to achieving a state where his people can live in 
dignity and at peace with Israel. Israelis have leaders who 
recognize that a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state will be 
a source of lasting security. This month in Ramallah and 
Jerusalem, I assured leaders from both sides that America will 
do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve a 
peace agreement that defines a Palestinian state by the end of 
this year. The time has come for a Holy Land where a democratic 
Israel and a democratic Palestine live side-by-side in peace.
    We are also standing against the forces of extremism 
embodied by the regime in Tehran. Iran's rulers oppress a good 
and talented people. And wherever freedom advances in the 
Middle East, it seems the Iranian regime is there to oppose it. 
Iran is funding and training militia groups in Iraq, supporting 
Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and backing Hamas's efforts to 
undermine peace in the Holy Land. Tehran is also 
developingballistic missiles of increasing range and continues to 
develop its capability to enrich uranium, which could be used to create 
a nuclear weapon. Our message to the people of Iran is clear: We have 
no quarrel with you, we respect your traditions and your history, and 
we look forward to the day when you have your freedom. Our message to 
the leaders of Iran is also clear: Verifiably suspend your nuclear 
enrichment, so negotiations can begin. And to rejoin the community of 
nations, come clean about your nuclear intentions and past actions, 
stop your oppression at home, and cease your support for terror abroad. 
But above all, know this: America will confront those who threaten our 
troops, we will stand by our allies, and we will defend our vital 
interests in the Persian Gulf.
    On the homefront, we will continue to take every lawful and 
effective measure to protect our country. This is our most 
solemn duty. We are grateful that there has not been another 
attack on our soil since September 11. This is not for a lack 
of desire or effort on the part of the enemy. In the past 6 
years, we have stopped numerous attacks, including a plot to 
fly a plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles and 
another to blow up passenger jets bound for America over the 
Atlantic. Dedicated men and women in our Government toil day 
and night to stop the terrorists from carrying out their plans. 
These good citizens are saving American lives, and everyone in 
this chamber owes them our thanks. And we owe them something 
more: We owe them the tools they need to keep our people safe.
    One of the most important tools we can give them is the 
ability to monitor terrorist communications. To protect 
America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, 
what they are saying, and what they are planning. Last year, 
the Congress passed legislation to help us do that. 
Unfortunately, the Congress set the legislation to expire on 
February 1. This means that if you do not act by Friday, our 
ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our 
citizens will be in greater danger. The Congress must ensure 
the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted. The Congress 
must pass liability protection for companies believed to have 
assisted in the efforts to defend America. We have had ample 
time for debate. The time to act is now.
    Protecting our Nation from the dangers of a new century 
requires more than good intelligence and a strong military. It 
also requires changing the conditions that breed resentment and 
allow extremists to prey on despair. So America is using its 
influence to build a freer, more hopeful, and more 
compassionate world. This is a reflection of our national 
interest and the calling of our conscience.
    America is opposing genocide in Sudan and supporting 
freedom in countries from Cuba and Zimbabwe to Belarus and 
    America is leading the fight against global poverty, with 
strong education initiatives and humanitarian assistance. We 
have also changed the way we deliver aid by launching the 
Millennium Challenge Account. This program strengthens 
democracy, transparency, and the rule of law in developing 
nations, and I ask you to fully fund this important initiative.
    America is leading the fight against global hunger. Today, 
more than half the world's food aid comes from the United 
States. And tonight, I ask the Congress to support an 
innovative proposal to provide food assistance by purchasing 
crops directly from farmers in the developing world, so we can 
build up local agriculture and help break the cycle of famine.
    America is leading the fight against disease. With your 
help, we are working to cut by half the number of malaria-
relateddeaths in 15 African nations. And our Emergency Plan for 
AIDS Relief is treating 1.4 million people. We can bring healing and 
hope to many more. So I ask you to maintain the principles that have 
changed behavior and made this program a success. And I call on you to 
double our initial commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS by approving an 
additional $30 billion over the next 5 years.
    America is a force for hope in the world because we are a 
compassionate people, and some of the most compassionate 
Americans are those who have stepped forward to protect us. We 
must keep faith with all who have risked life and limb so that 
we might live in freedom and peace. Over the past 7 years, we 
have increased funding for veterans by more than 95 percent. As 
we increase funding, we must also reform our veterans system to 
meet the needs of a new war and a new generation. I call on the 
Congress to enact the reforms recommended by Senator Bob Dole 
and Secretary Donna Shalala, so we can improve the system of 
care for our wounded warriors and help them build lives of 
hope, promise, and dignity.
    Our military families also sacrifice for America. They 
endure sleepless nights and the daily struggle of providing for 
children while a loved one is serving far from home. We have a 
responsibility to provide for them. So I ask you to join me in 
expanding their access to childcare, creating new hiring 
preferences for military spouses across the Federal Government, 
and allowing our troops to transfer their unused education 
benefits to their spouses or children. Our military families 
serve our Nation, they inspire our Nation, and tonight our 
Nation honors them.
    The secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that 
our greatness lies not in our Government, but in the spirit and 
determination of our people. When the Federal Convention met in 
Philadelphia in 1787, our Nation was bound by the Articles of 
Confederation, which began with the words, ``We the undersigned 
delegates.'' When Gouverneur Morris was asked to draft the 
preamble to our new Constitution, he offered an important 
revision and opened with words that changed the course of our 
Nation and the history of the world: ``We the people.''
    By trusting the people, our Founders wagered that a great 
and noble Nation could be built on the liberty that resides in 
the hearts of all men and women. By trusting the people, 
succeeding generations transformed our fragile young democracy 
into the most powerful Nation on earth and a beacon of hope for 
millions. And so long as we continue to trust the people, our 
Nation will prosper, our liberty will be secure, and the State 
of our Union will remain strong. So tonight, with confidence in 
freedom's power, and trust in the people, let us set forth to 
do their business.

                                                    George W. Bush.
    The White House, January 28, 2008.